Starlink mission Wednesday from Florida

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Launch summary: Scroll down to review live coverage of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket’s liftoff on Wednesday, May 8, from Cape Canaveral on the Starlink 6-56 mission.

Get ready for the launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket this afternoon from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

Welcome to FLORIDA TODAY’s Space Team’s live coverage of the SpaceX Starlink 6-56 mission at 2:42 PM EST from Pad 39A. The original launch target was 11 a.m., but the company announced three delays, delaying the launch until the end of today’s window.

Falcon 9 will deploy a constellation of Starlink internet satellites, positioned within the fascia atop the 230-foot-tall rocket.

Expect 90% odds of favorable weather, according to the Space Force’s 45th Weather Squadron, with a slight concern for sea breeze-fueled cumulus clouds and a moderate risk of damaging solar activity.

No sonic booms are expected in Central Florida on this mission. After climbing skyward along a southeast trajectory, the rocket’s first stage booster will aim to land on a SpaceX drone ship at sea about 8 1/2 minutes after liftoff.

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Updated at 2:50 p.m.: The first stage of a Falcon 9 rocket has just touched down aboard SpaceX’s drone ship A Shortfall of Gravitas in the Atlantic Ocean, concluding its third mission.

“Blue seas and blue skies for Falcon 9 landing,” SpaceX officials said in a tweet.

Update 2:42 p.m.: SpaceX just launched a Falcon 9 rocket carrying 23 Starlink satellites from pad 39A at KSC.

Update 2:37 p.m.: The SpaceX launch webcast hosted on X (formerly Twitter) is now posted above, directly below the countdown clock.

Liftoff is scheduled within five minutes from KSC.

Update 2:32 p.m.: Ten minutes before SpaceX’s scheduled Falcon 9 launch at 2:42 p.m., the countdown appears to be going as planned. Rocket fueling is still underway at KSC.

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Below is a list of the remaining important countdown milestones. T minus:

  • 7 minutes: The Falcon 9 begins engine cooling before launch.
  • 1 minute: The flight command computer begins final pre-launch checks; The fuel tank pressure starts until it reaches cruising pressure.
  • 45 seconds: SpaceX launch director checks ‘launch start’.
  • 3 seconds: The engine control module controls the start of the engine ignition sequence.
  • 0 seconds: Falcon taking off 9.

Update 2:27 p.m.: Tonight’s mission marks only the third flight of a Falcon 9 first-stage rocket, SpaceX reported, a paltry sum in this day and age.

The booster previously launched Crew-8 in March and the Starlink mission. After stage separation, the crew expects the booster to land on SpaceX’s drone ship A Shortfall of Gravitas in the Atlantic Ocean 8 minutes and 18 seconds after liftoff.

Update 2:17 p.m.: “The vehicle and weather in Florida are currently ready for launch,” SpaceX officials announced in a tweet.

Update 2:07 PM: SpaceX has just announced that fueling of the Falcon 9 rocket is underway at pad 39A.

This means that Starlink’s afternoon countdown has now ended for liftoff at 2:42pm without further delay, otherwise the launch must be postponed.

Update 1:56 PM: Florida Today photographer/videographer Craig Bailey captured this photo of United Launch Alliance crews rolling an Atlas V rocket and a Boeing Starliner capsule off the pad at nearby Launch Complex 41.

ULA plans to replace the self-regulating solenoid relief valve for liquid oxygen, and the new Starliner’s launch target is no earlier than 6:16 p.m. on May 17.

Updated at 1:30 p.m.: The temperature reached 90 degrees — with a moderate heat index of 96 — at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, the National Weather Service reported.

The temperature was four degrees higher than expected in the afternoon. Other meteorological notes: Partly cloudy skies; South winds 9 mph; And visibility of 10 miles.

Brevard County announced a burn ban at 12:18 p.m., banning bonfires, campfires and open burning. Amidst persistent dry weather conditions that increase the risk of forest fires.

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Update at 1 p.m.: SpaceX’s latest launch from Florida’s Space Coast occurred less than 48 hours ago.

That’s when the Starlink 6-57 mission lifted off at 2:14 p.m. Monday from Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

Just as the Falcon 9 rocket is programmed today, this rocket propelled 23 broadband satellites into low Earth orbit on a southeast trajectory.

Updated at 12:30 pm: SpaceX crews are scheduled to launch a Falcon 9 rocket tonight from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.

The 10:48 p.m. EDT mission will lift 20 Starlink satellites — including 13 with direct cell communication capabilities — into low Earth orbit from Space Launch Complex 4 East.

Update 11:56 AM: SpaceX announced a third delay, pushing back today’s liftoff attempt to the end of the launch window at 2:42 p.m.

If necessary, more launch opportunities are available on Thursday starting at 10:16 a.m

Update 11:45 AM: The National Weather Service is forecasting sunny skies, a high around 86 degrees, and southeast winds of 10 to 15 mph this afternoon at nearby Cape Canaveral Space Station. Wind speeds may reach 20 mph.

A tweet from the NWS said today through Friday will bring the warmest weather East Central Florida has seen this year — with record high temperatures expected.

Update 11:18 am: Another delay: SpaceX is now targeting 2:10pm for today’s launch.

Updated at 11 am: Although today’s launch target was delayed, Brevard County Emergency Management officials have activated the agency’s launch support team ahead of SpaceX’s upcoming Falcon 9 launch.

Update 10:35 am: The SpaceX Starlink mission will lift off today from pad KSC 39A within walking distance of nearby Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

This is where the United Launch Alliance Atlas V will launch NASA astronauts Sonny Williams and Butch Wilmore to the International Space Station during the inaugural crewed mission of the Boeing Starliner spacecraft.

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After Monday’s scrub, the historic Starliner launch will now take place no later than 6:16pm on May 17.

Updated 10:05 AM: We have a two and a half hour launch delay. SpaceX just announced its new target liftoff time of 1:34 p.m

The company has not publicly stated the reason for the delay.

Update 9:50 am: Below is a list of major upcoming countdown events for SpaceX. T minus:

  • 38 minutes: SpaceX’s launch director checks the “launch” of propellant loading.
  • 35 minutes: The loading of rocket kerosene and the first stage of liquid oxygen begins.
  • 16 minutes: The second stage of liquid oxygen loading begins.
  • 7 minutes: The Falcon 9 begins engine cooling before launch.
  • 1 minute: The flight command computer begins final pre-launch checks; The fuel tank pressure starts until it reaches cruising pressure.
  • 45 seconds: SpaceX’s launch director checks the “go” for the launch.
  • 3 seconds: The engine control module controls the start of the engine ignition sequence.
  • 0 seconds: Leaves.

Update 9:29 AM: Additional details from the 45th Weather Squadron’s SpaceX Starlink 6-56 forecast:

“The axis of high pressure is now located across central Florida and will remain in place over the next few days,” the forecast said.

“The extent of humidity is limited to the lowest levels of the atmosphere, so there will be only a small chance of violating the cumulus cloud rule at the onset of the sea breeze during the noon hours,” the forecast said.

For the latest news from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station and NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, visit floridatoday.com/space.

Rick Neil He is Florida Today’s space correspondent. Contact Neal on [email protected]. Twitter/X: @Rick Neal1

Space is important to us, which is why we work to provide the highest coverage of industry and launch operations in Florida. Such journalism requires time and resources. Please support him by subscribing here.

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